As one of things we are doing this year to celebrate our 40th anniversary, Betty and I took the Crown Princess roundtrip from Seattle to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and a quick stop in Victoria, British Columbia.
Officially, I am now in love with cruising. We had been on a cruise ship several years ago, but nothing of the scale and glamour of this floating city. Our stateroom was almost 240 square feet, with a queen bed, good-sized balcony with chairs and a table, lots of storage space, and a closet bigger than the one in our master bedroom at home. The shower was hot and the bathroom well equipped. Frankly, I wouldn't have changed a thing about the room even if I could. It took me two days to feel comfortable with the ship's layout and how to best use our time - then, I was hooked.
Nearly a dozen different dining options and nearly as many lounges and bars, Vegas quality night time shows, comedians, musical groups, educational seminars and lectures, movies outside by one of four pools, a putting course, library, and full fitness center made it impossible to feel bored.
|One of several lounges|
|850 seat theater|
|relaxing in the library, filled with books, games, and Alaska guidebooks|
We left the ship in Juneau for an excursion to a rain forest garden, glacier, and then up a tram for a stunning view of the harbor and the four massive cruise ships docked at the smallish harbor. In Skagway we took a bus into Canada's Yukon Territory. A mother black bear and her three cubs posed for us along the side of the highway. Returning to town on an old fashioned railroad train, more bear cubs scampered on the hillside. All the while, we were surrounded by massive, snow-covered mountains, lakes, and streams with water pure enough to drink.
|Coming into Juneau|
|our ship in Juneau|
|A rain forest in Alaska? Yes!|
|Bundled up at Mendenhall Glacier|
|The Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau|
|Heading to Skagway|
Glacier Bay is home to several, shrinking glaciers that tower up to 250 feet over the iceberg dappled water, or almost twice as high as our massive ship. We came within several hundred feet of the edge and were treated to the "calving" of several icebergs that broke from the edge of the glacier with a noise of loud cracking and booming just like thunder. The ship pivoted 360 degrees so everyone on both sides of the ship had the same spectacular view.
|Arriving at Glacier Bay|
Ketchikan is the rainiest town in Alaska, with 150 inches on average, so being there in wet weather is not unusual. It is a true fishing port, but also hosted four massive ships during our daylong visit. Because of the conditions we did not get to see the nearby fjords. Instead, we bought souvenirs and gifts for family. Late in the afternoon, I spotted three small whales just a 100 yards away from my seat on our balcony.
The stop in Victoria was for only a few hours, but the skies had cleared so we spent a perfect evening on one of the highest spots on the ship, photographing a perfect sunset and watching a video on the massive movie screen by one of the swimming pools.
|Night time in Victoria|
If you haven't taken an Alaskan cruise, I strongly recommend it. If you have, you can probably relate to our reaction to the seven day experience. Here are a sampling of some more of the nearly 1,500 photos that Betty and I snapped with a camera and our phones.
|Our one sunny day - perfect for exploring the Yukon|
I am already looking at more cruise possibilities next year!
|Next time, maybe warmer?|